Everyone in Vancouver had a case of the sads in mid-January when Henrik Sedin’s ironman streak ended. After 679 games (not counting playoffs), it was a case of not very impressive-sounding bruised ribs that shut him down. The good news is that he’s back to full practice, and should be back soon to start a new streak.
There aren’t a whole lot of ironmen in the NHL at all, let alone currently, and the injuries that end streaks aren’t always the world-ending massive traumatic disasters that you might expect. And then again, sometimes they are.
Martin St Louis – 499 Games
You’ll need more than two hands to count all the NHL players currently out with broken legs, ankles or feet. If you include “lower body injuries” on IR who may or may not have broken limbs (or no limbs, or a really bad cold, or an upset tummy), you may need to take off your socks and keep on counting.
Did somebody grease the ice?
Shot-blocking – inadvertent or on purpose – is a frequent culprit in the land of broken legs. Boston’s Gregory Campbell was last year’s poster child after a Malkin slapshot to the leg left him with a broken right fibula, on which he notoriously finished a shift on the PK. Fractures (and their aftermath) aren’t always that dramatic. Sometimes they’re picked up later on an MRI when a leg won’t stop hurting, and sometimes they’re obvious on tv from thousands of miles away by the screaming player or the fact that legs aren’t supposed to bend in between the joints. This season has produced fractures at both ends of the spectrum and all points in between.
Chris Kelly (Boston) – Fractured right fibula
The Bruins-Penguins game December seventh was one of the uglier debacles in recent memory. Loui Eriksson missed five weeks with a concussion from a Brooks Orpik hit, Shawn Thornton missed those same five weeks serving a suspension for his retaliatory slewfoot/suckerpunch on Orpik, James Neal took a five-game hit for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head, villages were sacked and burned, etc. Pascal Dupuis slashed Chris Kelly’s right leg, and though Kelly played in the third period of the game, it turned out he’d broken his fibula. A broken left tibia last year only kept Kelly out a month, but this time his timeline is closer to six weeks, as he’s only just resumed skating within the last few days. How? The tibial fracture wasn’t very serious. The team actually wasn’t even aware of it initially. X-rays aren’t always obvious right away, which is where the infamous “We have to wait for the swelling to go down” line comes from. Sometimes it takes a while for things to show themselves. This time there was nothing sneaky about the fracture, and Kelly has been spending his time in a walking boot. A fibular fracture will generally heal on its own, and was the injury that Toronto’s Bob Baun infamously fought through in the 1964 Stanley Cup Final.
Joni Pitkanen (Carolina) – Fractured left calcaneus (heel)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers grossed out the sporting world recently with the announcement that several of their players are fighting MRSA infections. Football doesn’t get to have all the fun where nasty bugs are concerned, so this week we’ll take you on a tour of some disgusting locker room infections. You’re welcome.
This year’s preseason injury report is taking a new form, and we’re introducing a new term. Much like the Montoya Line is the standard for average goaltending against which all other goaltenders are measured, the Gagner is the standard for hurlworthy injuries against which all other injuries will now be measured.
Cumberland, Ontario is a small town just east of Ottawa with the distinction of being home to the Camelot Golf and Country Club, an arena with water that smells like rotten eggs, and not much else. It’s also where Claude Giroux lacerated the extensor tendons in his right index finger in a freak exploding golf club incident.
Giroux was at Camelot preparing for the Ottawa Sun Scramble golf tournament, and apparently on a completely normal shot with a completely normal club the shaft of the club splintered, sending shards into his right index finger and lacerating the extensor tendons.
That’s an interesting injury seeing as how you hold a golf club in your palm, a place where you won’t find any extensor tendons. Those are on the backs of your fingers and hand. Giroux’s father Raymond told Le Droit that when his club splintered a piece flew up in the air and came down on his finger, causing the injury.
Regardless of what actually happened (a little smashy-smash of the old clubberoo?), extensor tendon injuries are fairly common and generally require surgery. Without an extensor tendon Giroux would be able to grip a hockey stick (or golf club) but straightening his fingers out to let go would be tricky.